Having lost 16 players from last season’s team that finished as state runner-up, the Oak Park and River Forest High School field hockey team knew that the annual Huskie Invitational would serve as a good barometer for just where they’re at in 2022.
And the verdict after finishing the tournament 2-3 is that there’s room for improvement.
“There were some ups and downs,” said OPRF coach Kristin. “Our first and last games were nice. In the middle three, there were some nice things that happened, [but] against a couple of teams we played timid. We let them control the pace when we needed to step up and take it, especially on our home field.”
Senior defender Caroline Revsine agreed with Wirtz’s assessment.
“We were up against a lot of good teams, and playing five games you have to be on all the time,” she said. “We had good energy, but sometimes the details weren’t there. Finishing with a win is all we could ask for.”
OPRF had three matches on Sept. 16. The Huskies defeated Huron (Michigan) 2-1 in the opener but lost the next two to Lake Forest 5-1 and Pioneer (Michigan) 3-0.
After losing its first match on Sept. 17 to Glenbrook South 7-1, OPRF ended the tournament by defeating Divine Savior Holy Angels High School of Milwaukee 6-3. The losses to Glenbrook South and Lake Forest were the first this year to in-state schools.
In the final match, Lily Rose Drews notched a hat trick for the Huskies, who improved its season record to 8-6-1 with the victory.
“It felt really good,” said Drews. “I think our team did a great job on connecting on all those passes to make it happen.”
Revsine feels good about where OPRF is at this point in the season, but she also realizes that there’s work to do.
“We’re doing a lot of good stuff,” she said. “We know what we have to work on. We have a vision of where we want the season to go.”
Wirtz would like to see the Huskies get better with their defensive organization. She also believes they need to improve on finishing their scoring opportunities. In the match with DSHA, OPRF missed a pair of penalty shots.
“We’re getting a lot of opportunities inside the circle but not capitalizing on them, and we need to find that extra motivation to finish,” Wirtz said. “We need to expect the ball to go in.”
OPRF has its next four matches away from home, beginning Sept. 21 at Deerfield. The Huskies next match at Lake Street Fields is Oct. 6 against Glenbrook South.